Phoenix Tool Kit

Burnt by Phoenix

Help for PSAC members with Phoenix-related problems and questions

PSAC is calling on members to boycott the government’s National Public Service Week, to be held June 11 to 17, 2017.

Hollow recognition

The event is supposed to mark the importance of federal public service employees and to recognize their service to Canadians. Yet thousands of public service workers are still having financial troubles because of the Phoenix pay system.

Departments have flexibility to issue emergency pay to employees affected by Phoenix

Submit a claim for out-of-pocket expenses related to Phoenix pay issues [Government of Canada, Pay, pension and benefits website]

The Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board is scheduled to meet with PSAC and the federal government on January 31, 2018.

The Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board has declared that the federal government has violated its obligations under the law by failing to meet the implementation deadline for the PA, SV, TC and EB collective agreements.

The latest update on Phoenix, shows a large remaining backlog of cases. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) provided the latest information on the public service pay system in a media teleconference on June 2.

“We are not surprised,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President. “It’s been almost 18 months since the government launched Phoenix and it feels like we are nowhere near the end of this mess.”

As problems with Phoenix continue to affect hundreds of thousands of public service workers, the federal government will hold its National Public Service Week (NPSW) from June 10 to 16, 2018.

The Treasury Board claims process for Phoenix has recently been expanded to cover financial losses caused by Phoenix related tax implications for the 2017 tax year. PSAC encourages members to review the new eligibility, and file a claim if applicable.

You have the right to be paid correctly and on-time and, if you are not, you have the right to file a grievance. Filing a grievance is an important procedural step that protects your right to have the dispute resolved by the Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board. It also means the employer must meet with you and your union representative.

As many as one in three PSAC members affected by Phoenix have incurred out-of-pocket expenses.

When the Phoenix nightmare began, one of the first things PSAC did was secure a claims process for expenses incurred because of inaccurate pay. We encourage our members to claim these expenses.

There is no deadline for submitting these claims. If you incurred expenses due to a pay problem in 2016 or 2017, you are still eligible to file.

What is covered?

Now that tax filing season is in full swing, PSAC wants to remind its members in the federal public service about some important information regarding Phoenix-related tax implications.

Federal public service workers suffering from Phoenix are finally receiving better service now that the contracted-out call centre has transitioned to one fully staffed by federal public service employees.

PSAC shares the scepticism and frustration of our members as a result of the continuous blunders on the part of this government when it comes to payroll problems. That said, PSAC encourages our members to make every effort to report any overpayments by January 19, 2018 to avoid having to repay the gross amount.

PSAC and our members are frustrated with the government’s failure to follow through on its commitment to delay recoveries of overpayments and emergency pay until federal public service workers have had all their pay problems resolved.

PSAC is unsatisfied with this half-measure and will continue to push for a full exemption from repaying the gross pay for all employees who received an overpayment due to Phoenix.

PSAC, and the other unions representing federal public service workers, are negotiating damages with the government for the undue stress and hardships caused by the Phoenix pay system.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada has filed an interference complaint with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB) relating to the government’s failure to collect and remit dues.

PSAC activists are bringing the stories of our members to Parliament Hill so that MPs don’t lose sight of the impact the Phoenix debacle is having on the personal lives of federal public service workers.

PSAC is calling on the Prime Minister to follow through on his government’s commitment to address the undue hardships caused by the Phoenix pay system by coming to an agreement on damages with the unions representing federal public service workers.

 “Government representatives at the table say they are waiting for a mandate. Well, it’s time Prime Minister Trudeau gave them one,” said PSAC National President Chris Aylward. 

The Phoenix pay system has been a disaster for our members. Members have been underpaid, overpaid and not paid at all. Learn more about what the union has been doing to get this fixed.

Not deducting union dues correctly is one more way that Phoenix has failed public sector workers. You can help us push the government to pay public sector workers correctly, every pay day.

PSAC National Executive Vice-President Chris Aylward appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on February 7, 2018 to highlight the main problems the Phoenix pay system has caused our members and to outline two of PSAC’s key demands.

“As you are aware, Phoenix has caused a litany of problems,” Aylward said to the committee. “Many workers have been underpaid, while others have mistakenly received overpayments. Even those who haven’t had pay issues live in fear that they will be the next victim of this nightmare.”

The 2017 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) was launched Monday and is being rolled out to departments this week. Members will have from Aug. 21 to Sept. 29, 2017, to complete the questionnaire.

National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Chris Aylward, has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requesting a national public inquiry on Phoenix.

“PSAC has carefully reviewed the latest report from the Auditor General, and we are now prepared to make the formal case for why a public inquiry is needed,” said Aylward.

Calling Phoenix an “incomprehensible failure,” the Auditor General cautioned that, to prevent another similar disaster from occurring, there is a need for “changes that go beyond the recommendations” made in his report.

PSAC National President Robyn Benson has met with the Ministers of the cabinet working group on Phoenix to discuss recommendations by the union for fixing pay system problems.

“This was an opportunity to share information that we are hearing from our members who work directly with the pay system,” said Benson. "I reiterated our recommendations, including the need to engage IBM to address the technological issues still plaguing the Phoenix system as well as ensuring the human resources capacity continues to be expanded and rebuilt.”

The federal government claims that it cannot provide an accurate update on the implementation of the Program and Administrative Services (PA) bargaining unit collective agreement until June of 2019.

“We have been clear that, under no circumstances, should our members be forced to hand over more money than they received in overpayment. The Minister has within his power the ability to solve this problem and that is what we are asking him to do,” said PSAC National President Robyn Benson.

After pressure from PSAC, the government agreed to compensate federal public service employees, with tax problems caused by the Phoenix pay system, for up to $200 per year of tax advisory services.

The claim and release form is strictly restricted to tax advisory services for the tax years 2016 and 2017.

A process is in place to avoid potential income tax implications, including situations involving outstanding salary owed to employees, overpayments and emergency salary advances.

As Treasury Board bargaining resumed this week, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) responded to the employer’s proposals with a clear mandate for improvements to working conditions.

We want you to know that PSAC has been doing everything in its power to ensure that  you get paid correctly and on-time and address problems caused by Phoenix. 

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